Happy November


Happy November to everyone, but especially to our Salemites! We made it through another Halloween season of crazy costumes, no parking, lots of enthusiasm (I dressed up thrice – As I write this on October 30, I am dressed as a fuzzy dinosaur), and even a nor’easter! Last year the Marvel characters seemed to the most popular costumes to come into the shop, but this year I think it was pirates ARRR. So how should we celebrate the transition to November? With lots and lots of cheese, of course! 

Let’s start with a celebratory goat’s milk cheese – Valençay. Why do I want this to revel in the coming of a new month? Well, it’s a very cool shape, which is important. It is shaped like a pyramid with the top point cut off. As legend has it, Napoleon marched into a small town in central France on his way back from a couple major defeats in Egypt. They offered him a pyramid shaped goat cheese, which was traditional to the area. Thinking they mocked him for his losses in the country of the Great Pyramids, he pulled out his sword and lopped off the top of the cheese and a few heads! Just kidding about the heads, that was my own gory flourish. Never again did the cheese have a pointed top! Besides having an excellent story behind it, Valençay also happens to be one of my favorite cheeses in our case right now. It tastes bright, almost lemony, with a creamy, rich texture, and it goes with a dry sparkling wine like peanut butter and banana or bagels and lox or Leslie Knope and parks.

The next cheese I want on my Happy November cheese platter is Cornish Kern. It is a cow’s milk cheese from Cornwall in southern England, and it just feels like late fall to me. From a small, rural dairy, Lynher Dairies Cheese Company, Cornish Kern is very new to the cheese world, hitting the market around 2015, and then winning Supreme Champion (real name) at the World Cheese Awards in 2017. That was some quick work! It makes sense, though, because this firm cheese has the texture of a well-tempered chocolate bar – how posh! – meaning that it has a snap when you bite into a piece and then a slight give. There is also a nice balance of sweet and savory, with flavors of butter, almonds, and walnuts. 

Finally, the third cheese I want to fill out my November cheese board is Su Entu. It is a firm, sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia that has been driving the whole Cheese Shop crew wild. I just grabbed a bite of cheese to write some tasting notes, but I gobbled it up too quickly to write anything. So basically Su Entu is so good you might eat it too fast to think about it and dissect it because you want to get it IN YOUR BELLY. However, if I were to slow down my furious snacking and do my job, I’d tell you the flavor starts tangy, then becomes savory like grilled meat, and finally finishes with rich brown butter. It took me six pieces of cheese to get out that sentence.

In conclusion, happy November! Eat cheese and prosper! 

For the love of cheese and any reason to celebrate,